Just say no to the high fructose corn syrup in bottled drinks this summer. It’s really pretty easy. Even if you add sugar to your tea, like I do about 1/3 of the time, I figure it’s better because I have to physically add it so I’m aware of what I’m consuming. And honestly, there are around 9 teaspoons of sugar (in the form of high fructose corn syrup) in a 16 oz Coke and 14 teaspoons of sugar in a 20 oz Snapple Lemon Iced Tea, so I think my occasional teaspoon of sugar is a big improvement.
I drink iced tea now and again all during the year, but I really want it in the summer. I like to set up a jar of sun tea when I start doing yard work so it’s ready when I’m ready to sit down and relax. I know that technically I can do this in the fridge, but I think it steeps faster when you put cool water in a jar in the sun because of the convection currents the heat creates.
Good Earth’s Original Sweet & Spicy Tea & Herb Blend is pretty amazing if you like a sweet tea but don’t want to use sugar. It tastes sweet as is! If you have a sweet tooth, you can make a full strength batch and it honestly comes out very sweet and cinnamon-y. It’s also nice to add one or two bags of this to plain black tea bags, if you want just a hint of flavor.
Some other good ones for adding a hint of flavor to basic black tea or for brewing full strength are Good Earth’s Chai varieties. They have several, and are often available in grocery stores.
The batch pictured above is made from Stash Tea’s Green Tea Chai. If you’re on the fence about green tea’s flavor but would like its health benefits, you might want to buy one of Stash’s green tea samplers and make small batches of iced or hot with them. Moroccan mint is green tea and…well, yes, mint. I see a lot of these in grocery stores, too.
If you’re not opposed to sugar in your tea, you can also add some interest by making simple syrup in interesting flavors. I made some rosemary simple syrup and used it in my iced tea. I want to try some more of my homegrown herbs in syrups. The obvious is mint, but I’m going to try sage too. There are lots of recipes available online, but this one from Recipe Link is pretty much like the one from The Joy of Cooking that I used.
You could also put a stick of cinnamon either in the syrup or in the brew itself.
There are also, of course, lots of flavored black teas like passionfruit and peach, etc. that are terrific iced. And there is a whole world of herbal infusions out there to explore too.
Get your tea on! It’s good for you!